I call the messy stage of a novel The Swamp, and most often it’s in the middle.

I really related to “The Slough of Despond” post by Barbara O’Neal on Writer Unboxed (an excellent blog for writers).

She writes:

I’m up to my neck in a first draft that has a million dead ends and weird transitions and scenes that will never make the final cut. The language in places is so much worse than pedestrian that I would die of embarrassment if anyone, even my very best friend, read it.

Her husband calls the messy manuscript stage “the teenager.” I know of another writer, who, when she hit the Slough of Despond, her husband said, “You’re on Chapter 5 already?”

I’m happy-go-lucky now, fixing things in the manuscript here and there, wandering off into endless research, waiting for the next heavy brick to land from The Task Master (editor Dan). Then, no doubt, I will be in the Slough of Despond yet again — or, dare I think, is that swampy bit behind me? (Dream on.)

Are you in a swamp, right now, the Slough of Despond? How do you deal with it? What’s your name for it?